How to Clean a Couch
By Steve Gillman
First, we'll look at the basics of cleaning a couch on your
own. Then there will be some suggestions for when to hire help
and how to negotiate a better price.
To thoroughly clean a couch you should first remove the cushions
(assuming they are removable). Vacuum the cushions, as well as
all surfaces on the couch. The back may not look dirty, but it
will have collected dust, so get that too. Use the vacuum attachments
to get down into the cracks and crevices. You may want to reach
down there to search for loose change first.
If there is a window nearby, open the blinds and let the sun
in. Then smack the upholstery with the flat of your hand to see
if dust is still coming out. If so, vacuum again. If there are
exposed wooden parts, clean those with a damp clean white rag.
Before you go any further you might want to check to see if
the couch is still under warranty. If it is, you may void the
warranty by using certain cleaning solutions. In that case, follow
the manufacturer's recommendations or stick to just vacuuming.
If there is no warranty issue, check the tags on the bottom
of the couch (sometimes they are under the cushions) to see what
kind of material you have. Buy a cleaner which is specifically
meant for that type of upholstery. You can then use this in a
rented rug shampooer to clean the fabric. It is usually a good
idea to run warm water through the machine first, to be sure
that there is no residue left from the last user.
Test the cleaning machine and shampoo on the back of the couch
or in an area which is not normally visible. If you don't see
any transfer of color from the fabric, or any discoloring, you
should be good to go. Be sure to clean the entire couch so you
don't have watermarks. Clean the cushions separately.
If you have a wet-dry vacuum it may do a better job than some
rug shampooers for extracting the excess moisture. After you
are done, place a fan where it can blow on the couch, and adjust
the position occasionally so all areas dry quickly. Once everything
is completely dry you can replace the cushions (do it before
everything is dry and you might have mildew problems).
If you prefer to save the money you would spend for the shampooing
machine, see the page How
to Clean Upholstery.
If you have stains that will not come out, you can try the
instructions for removing specific stains in carpet, although
upholstery fabric may react differently. The pages covering all
the different stain substances are listed on the homepage.
If you still can't get those stains out, you'll have to call
a professional cleaner. Normally that means a carpet cleaner
(not many companies do just upholstery). Ask if you can get a
discount if you vacuum the couch first and have it ready (away
from the wall, cushions removed). Otherwise, you might also get
a better deal if you wait until you need the carpet cleaned and
then get the couch cleaned as an extra service.
Remove Carpet Stains Homepage
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